LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Over the course of the NFCA’s collegiate awards season, the Association recognized nine student-athletes as New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award recipients. Announced during a division’s All-America or Special Awards release, the distinction is bestowed on the student-athlete, who was voted as the top base stealer.
The NFCA All-America teams are voted on by the Association’s All-America Committees or in the case of NJCAA Division III, Cal JC and NWAC, teams are voted on by the respective membership’s head coaches. The High School recipient will be announced on July 22.
This year’s recipients are as follows:
NCAA Division I
Alexis Johns, University of South Florida
Johns, an outfielder, led the NCAA with 59 steals in 61 attempts, averaging just a tick under one steal per game (0.98), both single-season program records and swiped multiple bases 17 times, including four three-steal contests. The junior outfielder also topped USF with a .341 batting average, 59 hits, 30 walks, 55 runs scored and a .434 on-base percentage.
NCAA Division II
Madison Melvin, West Chester University
Melvin, a second-team All-America outfielder, led NCAA Division II with 56 stolen bases in 60 attempts and was the only student-athlete averaging over one steal per game (1.22). Melvin becomes the first student-athlete to represent West Chester and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with this honor. Additionally, Melvin led the Golden Rams with a .453 batting average, 77 hits, 60 runs scored and a .486 on-base percentage.
NCAA Division III
Kaela Kraemer, University of Wisconsin, Superior
Kraemer, a second-team All-Region shortstop in Region IX, ranked second in NCAA Division III with 71 stolen bases and first in stolen bases per game (1.69). Kraemer finished second in Division III stolen base percentage at .947 (71-for-75), among players with more than 40 steals. Additionally, she recorded 19 games with multiple steals, including six against North Central and five more versus Minnesota Morris. Kraemer topped the Yellowjackets with a .453 batting average, 62 hits, 56 runs scored, 22 walks, a .531 on-base percentage and .577 slugging percentage.
Riley Sanders, Southeastern University
Sanders, who earned her first All-America nod, was also tabbed the Schutt Sports/NFCA NAIA Freshman of the Year. She topped the NAIA with 74 stolen bases, 57 straight to end the season, and was caught just once. Sanders recorded 20 contests with multiple steals, including a season-best four against Calumet, Warner and Trinity Baptist, and had four more contests with three. Additionally, she posted a streak of 14 straight games with a steal (29 total). She batted .383 on the season with a team-best 69 runs.
NJCAA Division I
Camryn Cernuto, Chattanooga State Community College
Cernuto was the top base stealer in NJCAA DI with 71 steals. The second-team All-America at-large selection (second base) was pivotal in Chattanooga State’s 4-2 showing at the NJCAA DI National Championship Tournament. Cernuto recorded multiple steals in 18 contests, including a season-best five against Coastal Alabama-Brewton and four more versus Pearl River. At the plate, she hit .429 with 97 hits, 11 doubles, 39 RBI and 89 runs scored.
NJCAA Division II
Laila Armstrong, Northwest Mississippi Community College
Armstrong, who tied for fifth nationally with 46 stolen bases, was a second-team All-America outfielder. She was only caught twice on the season and recorded 10 multi-steal contests, including a season-best three against East Mississippi and Coahoma. On the season, she batted .408 with eight doubles, four triples and 66 runs scored.
NJCAA Division III
Emma Bright, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Bright was perfect on the bases with 52 steals, which ranked second in NJCAA DIII. The NFCA All-American and two-time Golden Shoe winner registered 15 games with multiple stolen bases. She notched a season-best four against Rochester, while stealing three bases eight times. Bright finished with the NJCAA DIII’s fourth-best batting average (.593), while also third in runs scored (72), fifth in base hits (83) and triples (6) and sixth in on-base percentage (.626).
Jizzell Ruiz, Los Angeles Mission College
Ruiz was the top base stealer in the CCCAA, swiping 53 bags in 55 attempts. Ruiz registered a season-high five at Glendale and four more at Long Beach to go along with eight games of three stolen bases. Offensively, she hit .386 and scored 51 runs, currently fourth in the CCCAA. Additionally, she drew 15 walks and reached base at a .457 clip.
Matlyn Leetch – Mt. Hood Community College
Leetch was the NWAC’s top base stealer with 44 steals in 47 attempts, recording six more steals than her nearest competitor. She posted 10 games with two or more steals, including five at Blue Mountain Community College and four versus Shoreline Community College. Leetch also finished fifth in the league with a .543 batting average and was second with 101 hits and 10th with a .572 on-base percentage.
About New Balance
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